1887

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Working Papers

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Working Papers aim to stimulate discussion and critical comment on the broad range of economic, social and environmental issues associated with the United Nations Development Agenda.

English

The Role of External Audits in Enhancing Transparency and Accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals

This paper examines the involvement of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) in auditing the preparedness of governments for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2015. These audits have covered institutional arrangements put in place to implement the SDGs, the mobilization of resources, and monitoring and evaluation frameworks. SDG preparedness audits have produced valuable information that is not necessarily available from other national processes linked with SDG follow-up and review. As such, audit recommendations can be a powerful tool to help governments improve SDG implementation. The paper reflects on the impact that SDG audits have made, and on the challenges and opportunities for SAIs that have engaged in this exercise. While many of these challenges are generic to the work of SAIs, SDG audits also present specific political, institutional and technical problems. Finally, the paper explores questions that this new area of engagement poses for SAIs, including the long-term prospects for institutionalization of SDG audits and the relationship with other accountability mechanisms for the SDGs at the national level.

English

Keywords: sustainable development, government accountability, supreme audit institutions, Sustainable development goals
JEL: O19: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development / International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations; F55: International Economics / International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy / International Institutional Arrangements; H83: Public Economics / Miscellaneous Issues / Public Administration; Public Sector Accounting and Audits; O20: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Development Planning and Policy / Development Planning and Policy: General
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